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Call for end to council funding cuts to save our services

Senior figures in East Lothian Labour Party are calling for governments at Westminster and Holyrood to end austerity and save our services by reversing cuts to local authority budgets.

East Lothian Council is considering options for savings in next year's budget, against a backdrop of predicted SNP Government revenue funding cuts of up to four per cent per year for the foreseeable future.

Audit Scotland figures show that the SNP Government has already reduced revenue funding for local authorities by 11 per cent since 2010/11, putting huge pressure on council budgets, including East Lothian's.

Martin Whitfield MP said:

“We are suffering the worst squeeze to funding for our public services since the height of Thatcherism. On top of huge cuts to local council funding, many people are also being hit by the implementation of Universal Credit and other changes to our social security system.

"The combination of cuts and mismanaged benefit changes are hurting some of the most vulnerable people in East Lothian. I will be working with Opposition colleagues at Westminster to urge the Chancellor to give Scotland a fair funding settlement in the Budget and end this corrosive austerity."

Iain Gray MSP said:

"The SNP has claimed time and again that it will halt austerity. However, the reality for local services is that the SNP Government has simply passed on austerity cuts to councils, with an 11 per cent reduction in local authority funding over the last six years.

"Labour-led East Lothian Council has pulled out all the stops to avoid passing on cuts to our communities. But there is a limit to what they are able to do. The SNP Government must stop passing on Tory cuts, use the powers of the Parliament and give councils the funding they need to save our services."

Cllr Norman Hampshire, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and acting Council Leader, said:

"Despite SNP Ministers imposing huge funding cuts in recent years, we have done everything possible to protect vital council services. However, the scale of the reduction in funding predicted for the years ahead will make it impossible to continue this protection.

"Local people need to know that this is not our choice, but something that is being forced on us by government. If the SNP are serious about being anti-austerity they must properly fund councils and stop the cuts to vital local services."

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